By 2020, China’s eSports industry will be worth $3 billion, according to Sports Pro Media. More than 50,000 people work in the industry in China but 250,000 may be employed by the industry in 2020. There are also more than 100 eSports leagues in the region, which has grown from fewer than 10 in 2016.
How China’s eSports Industry Has Grown
The growth of China’s eSports industry is due to the huge amount of support that has been put behind it. While there are some incredibly talented eSports players in China, such as Edward Gaming who plays League of Legends and the Guangzhou Charge Overwatch League team, they didn’t make the country’s eSports industry what it is alone.
Several companies in China have put money and resources into the eSports industry, helping it to grow. Tencent, which owns stakes in many eSports game developers such as League of Legends developer Riot Games, Fortnite developer Epic Games, and Overwatch parent company Activision, has just announced that it will be hosting a global annual eSports summit, according to The Esports Observer. Taking place in Hainan in June, the event will get eSports academics and executives to discuss the industry. The event helps to show people just how big China’s eSports industry is and how it can grow.
eSports players in China are also being supported by some big brands. Gilette is partnering with five Honor of Kings players, says NewsGroove, while Nike is a sponsor of China’s League of Legends league. This support means that players in the country can make huge amounts of money and they can also spend that money on getting better equipment and gear that can help them with their game.
How Could China’s Esports Industry Keep Growing?
However, while China’s eSports industry has grown, it could potentially keep growing. One area where the eSports industry hasn’t gotten into is with eSports betting. With sites like Betway offering eSports betting, eSports fans in the UK are able to bet on matches in games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. Many of the eSports matches that they are placing bets on are games between eSports teams from China. There are more than 170 million eSports fans and players in China and they would probably enjoy being able to put bets on eSports.
China could also create more eSports infrastructure. The country has created the world’s first eSports arena and a $280 million LGD project in Hangzhou has been called an eSports town. Businesses in China know that people really want to watch eSports at arenas and learn how to become a professional eSports player and these infrastructure projects help with that. 170 million is a big number, though, and for everyone in China to be near an eSports arena that they can visit often will mean that more arenas will need to be built.
Could Other Regions Learn from China?
Other countries like the UK looking to grow their eSports scene can learn from China. The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene in the UK is one eSports sector that has been criticized for not having enough support and for not being run very well. China’s eSports industry was able to grow because companies like Tencent supported it and if another company did the same for UK eSports, you probably wouldn’t have the same management or funding problems seen with the UK CS:GO scene.
More could also be done to help players get better at eSports games. There are two ways to get better at eSports , one is having better equipment and the other is having more time to practice. If UK eSports players were given salaries or more money from brands supporting them, they would be able to spend more time practicing.
Growing an eSports industry in a country is difficult and the growth of eSports in China has taken years of support and resources. If these same resources and the same was support was put into the eSports industries of other countries then they may be able to become just as successful as China.